For close to 100 years the Cowra Bowling Club has been a hive of activity, entertainment and fun for the Cowra Community. Originally formed in 1923, the Club has seen it's ups and downs through war time, floods and droughts, however the future is looking bright following the undertakings of a $5 million renovation.
While bowling clubs in general are seen to be in decline across the state, Cowra Bowling Club, along with others across the Central West. continue to buck this trend through innovative concepts including attracting younger bowlers, providing a wide range of hospitality services and using the bowling greens as multi-use surfaces for games such as mini golf and futsal soccer.
Cowra Bowling Club Manager, Marc Eisenhauer, said they have overcome the downturn by continually staying relevant to the town. "We are extremely focused on the local sporting and charity organisations and regularly engage with these groups," he said. "It helps that bowlers at Cowra Bowling Club are a social group who enjoy a beer or two on a Wednesday and Saturday afternoon, and I'm happy to say that our bowlers are extremely loyal and friendly".
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Following a review of the Club, the decision to renovate was made due to the continuing need to improve and stay relevant. Marc said that Improvements to be made include relocating facilities within the club to increase the amount of natural light which enters the club, along with creating a new alfresco space to include covered barbecue area overlooking the greens.
"We are demolishing internal walls to create more open space and swapping our auditorium and bistro over, bringing it into the internals of the club which will also help its interaction with other operational facilities of the Club," he said. "In total we are spending $5 million over a period of five years. Stage 1 has commenced at a cost of $1.6 million". The next five years will see the club prioritise their master plan and Marc said the local economy set to benefit along the way. "Our yearly wage bill gets channeled directly into the local economy through our local staff, and the local trades will benefit directly with our $1.6 million injection," he said. "I am proud to say that 95 per cent of Stage 2 will be spent in Cowra using only local contractors and suppliers used in the work".
The local community has always benefited from the Bowling Club. Last year they donated over $35,000 to local charities and sporting groups and this year, that budget is set to double. Marc said that the Club is committed about working with the people of Cowra for the benefit of everyone. "I've been in the industry for over 20 years and have seen first-hand the good that comes from our industry".